INTRODUCTION: The decline in tobacco smoking among US adolescents has been exceeded by the exponential rise in nicotine vaping with an overall net gain in youth tobacco product use. While cigarette companies are restricted from advertising on television/radio, vaping promotions have been largely unrestricted. This study examined exposure to tobacco product promotions in a US sample of 1003 adolescents and its associations with product use and susceptibility to use.METHODS: Adolescents (13-17) were recruited online and anonymously surveyed in 2019 about their ever and current (past 30-day) tobacco smoking (cigarette and cigar) and nicotine vaping behaviors, and among never-users, susceptibility to vaping. Multivariate models tested associations with past-month exposure to tobacco product promotions controlling for demographic features, harm perceptions, and family and peer influences.RESULTS: Tobacco product use was 34%ever-use and 20% current-use. Most had seen cigarette (91%) and nicotine vaping (80%) product promotions in the past 30 days. A majority reported exposure at point-of-sale and on major (television, cinema) and social media. In adjusted multivariate models, greater exposure to tobacco product promotions was significantly associated with ever and current smoking and vaping; and among never-users, susceptibility to vaping (all p<.01, effect sizes 1.03 to 1.05). Family/peer use and attitudes also were significant correlates.CONCLUSIONS: Tobacco product promotions remain ubiquitous and are significantly associated with adolescents' tobacco product use and susceptibility to vape. Peers and family are important social influences and may reflect indirect channels of tobacco marketing. Stricter regulatory restrictions on tobacco marketing to young people is warranted.IMPLICATIONS: This study adds to mounting evidence showing that tobacco marketing remains pervasive and is associated with tobacco use and susceptibility to use. Most youth report seeing cigarette and nicotine vaping product promotions, with notable differences by channel: traditional media predominating for cigarettes and social media/email for e-cigarettes. Greater exposure to tobacco promotions is significantly associated with ever and current smoking and vaping, and among never-users, susceptibility to vaping. The accumulating findings support stricter regulatory restrictions on marketing of tobacco products in media channels accessed by youth.
View details for DOI 10.1093/ntr/ntaa136
View details for PubMedID 32722775